Apr 30, 2018

Monthly Re-Cap: April 2018

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

So ... I have already written this post once... :( 
I have no clue where the draft disappeared to ... oh well here it goes (again).

April wrapped up nicely. I got a good amount of reading and blogging done, and it was my birthday month (woohoo). Sunday was my birthday and we went to Monster Jam - I love monster trucks so much - mostly because they are ridiculous. We went with a group of friends and had SO MUCH FUN! None of them had been before so it was an all new experience for them, I think they had a good time. :)

Other fun events this month - We visited the local science museum on adult night and I was happy to be there without kids around. I got to play with bubbles and watch the turtles swim around. I got to feed the ants and use all the fun exhibits. We had our family dinner and it was a sub night- which was a great idea and we got to hang out with all of our friends.

~~Reviews Up This Month From Previous Re-Caps~~
Brothers Unite (Secondhand Heroes #1) by Justin Hansen (MG, GN) - 4 stars
In the Trenches (Secondhand Heroes #2) by Justin Hansen (MG, GN) - 5 stars
The Last Battle (Secondhand Heroes #3) by Justin Hansen (MG, GN)- 5 stars
The Lost Path by Amélie Fléchais (MG, GN) - 3 stars
Deep Water by Watt Key (MG) - 5 stars
Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts by Ian De Haes (Youth) - 5 stars
Fish-Boy by Vanita Oelschlager (Youth)  - 4 stars
All Summer Long by Hope Larsen (MG/ GN) - 3 stars

Reviews still on their way to you:
 Coming soon in 2018 ...

Buni: Happiness is a State of Mind (Adult, GN)
This is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose (Youth)
Today I'll be a Unicorn by Dana Simpson (Youth)
The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw (Youth)
Fox and Racoon by Lesley-Anne Green (Youth)
Pop! by Jason Carter Eaton (Youth)

Recent Reads: Hardened Hearts by Various

Source: From one of the authors in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Hardened Hearts
Hardened Hearts by Eddie Generous (Editor),  Gwendolyn Kiste, Tom Deady, Meg Elison , John Boden, Somer Canon, Calvin Demmer, Theresa Braun, J.L. Knight, Madhvi Ramani  Scott Hallam, Robert Dean, Leo X. Robertson, Jennifer Williams, Laura Blackwell, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi , Sarah L. Johnson, James Newman
Publisher: Unnerving
Publication Date:  December 3, 2017

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format:  Paperback



Goodreads Synopsis: 
17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.
Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless.
I am a little behind on a few book reviews in my stack - this is one of those. I had intended to read this and review it around Valentine's Day but it got lost in the shuffle of life - so instead I decided to pick it up around my anniversary. I am so glad I got to read it and the timing was perfect. 

This is a collection of love stories some painful, some strange,  all of them great reads! They vary in length and content and are perfect for reading straight through or one at a time randomly. 

I really love short story collections - they are a wonderful break from novels and you have perfect stopping points because each is only so many pages - quick and simple.

Some of the stories that really stuck out were The Pink Balloon, The Heart of the Orchard and Meeting the Parents. The first was about a young girl and a clown - can't give away more than that, but it was creepy and disturbing on a few levels. The Orchard had a wonderful build up to it and the suspense was wonderful, and Meeting the Parents had a more playful feel too it but has a fun twist. 

Even though the stories were all different and I had differing emotions with all of them - I enjoyed the whole book. It was a great read - best to be had if you need an alternative view on love.

Apr 27, 2018

Early Reader Review: All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Source: From Netgalley and First Second Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review. 

All Summer Long All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Publisher:  First Second Books
Publication Date:  May 1, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format:  Ebook



Goodreads Synopsis: 
A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written and illustrated by the Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling Hope Larson.
Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he's off to soccer camp for a month, and he's been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it's up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it's a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin's older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he's acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.
I love reading middle grade graphic novels, they are a great way to get reluctant readers into books and they have a lot of important messages that they can share with those readers.   

All Summer Long is a graphic novel about growing up and the challenges of changing friendships and getting older. It was a good read and I enjoyed it. We follow Bina whose best friend is going away to camp and she will be alone all summer long. The novel is about her coping with the change in their friendship and how things just change as you get older. She isn't ready to accept any of it. The story is her summer vacation as it progresses and she learns what it means to get older. 

The illustrations were pretty simple but they capture the feeling of the story really well. Bina though, is kind of obnoxious, but then again - I'm not a teen any more, so this angsty behavior and feeling might hit home for younger readers.  I think it is a graphic novel worth picking up. I think pre-teen readers will get a kick out of it and catch all the feels. It is very relatable overall.

Apr 26, 2018

Early Reader Review: Fish-Boy by Vanita Oelschlager

Source: From Netgalley and Vanita Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.
Fish-Boy by Vanita Oelschlager
Publisher: Vanita Books
Publication Date:  May 1, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format:  Ebook



Goodreads Synopsis: 
The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures. The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world.

In Fish-Boy, An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. It's an origin story involving a little magic and a very odd boy with a large heart for friendship. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers. But he has a way.. and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.
Fish-Boy is an Inuit tale told by an elder to youth while on a trade route to exchange deer hides for white bear hides. The story is about a fisherman who while out fishing finds a boy who has no arms and is part fish. The boy helps him fish and they are famous in their village and beyond. When they start to leave their village they are blamed for bad things happening and then even shunned. The story has a few lessons that it tells, to be hospitable, to value elders, to practice kindness and be inclusive and overall to be respectful. I think these are all good values for youth books to have and this book was a wonderful example. 

Along with this magnificent folk tale, there are stunning illustrations that go along with it. The are bright and in a watercolor-esq style that is perfect for this tale and they really are breathtaking. I think they fit perfectly.

Overall I thought this was a great book and it was a folk tale that I was not familiar with. I love learning about other cultures and this book helps with that as well. 

Apr 25, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Unbreakable by Sara Ella

Unbreakable (Unblemished, #3)
Unbreakable by Sara Ella
Series: Unblemished #3

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 1, 2018


Why I Am Waiting:
I have really enjoyed this series so far, there is a love triangle and the characters are all flawed but wonderful and there is a lot of suspense and cliffhangers. I am so excited for this one to come out.


Apr 24, 2018

Early Reader Review: Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts by Ian De Haes

Source: From Netgalley and Flyaway Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinions or review.
Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts: A Book about Anger
Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts by Ian De Haes

Publisher: Flyaway Books
Publication Date:   April 26, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
When Simon gets mad, he gets REALLY mad. So mad that big, bad, angry beasts appear. At first Simon loves having the beasts around to help scare off anyone who upsets him, but over time he realizes that no one wants to be around him or the beasts. This makes Simon sad, so he decides to try to still his mind and practice being calm. And the beasts disappear!

Featuring colorful and expressive illustrations, this insightful book helps children ages 4-8 learn how to handle their anger. A guide for parents and teachers in the back of the book features strategies for talking to children about their emotions along with various exercises they can use to cope with anger.
I requested this book for the title and cover and was overwhelmed at how wonderful it is for teaching.  This short little kids book is about being angry, at everyone, all the time and the monsters you can bring out. Simon has a lot of beasts to stick up for him but no one else to play with. Not only is the story here a very nice one, it is a great teaching tool and even comes with additional teaching tools and follow-ups in the last few pages for parents and adult readers.

The vibrant and fun illustrations keep it semi-light but it is an important lesson to share with young children - the importance of calm and working through your problems. This was very well put together and I think that parents will enjoy it along with their kids. 

Apr 23, 2018

Blog Tour: Excerpt and Giveaway! Magnetic by Carissa Miller

Magnetic by Carissa Miller
Publication Date:  September 10, 2017

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

About the Book:

When Elle Christiansen’s rebellion leads to her father’s expulsion from a parsonage in small-town Ohio, the forlorn pair is forced to move to Oklahoma to live with an aunt neither of them has ever met. Here she encounters her aunt’s neighbor—Maverick Mason, the quietly confident son of a wealthy oil tycoon who infuriates her as much as he inexplicably draws her in…

Maverick slowly gains Elle’s trust and coaxes her out from the seemingly impenetrable walls of self-protection she erected around her heart when her mother was murdered. He convinces Elle to confide the secrets of her tortured past: that she saw her mother’s murder before it took place, and she was the one who found her, bleeding to death at the end of a lonely dirt road. Together the unlikely pair begins to unlock the secrets of not only Elle’s sordid past, but her mother’s and grandmother’s as well, to uncover decades of greed, corporate corruption, lies, and murder. Quickly, the sobering realization hits: if they do not solve her mother’s murder, Elle will undoubtedly suffer the same fate. As she continues her journey toward truth alongside the boy she is magnetically drawn to in a way both frightening and uncontrollable, Elle finds the road she is most afraid of going down—that one lane dirt road where her mother was murdered—just might be the only place she can truly find redemption.

Magnetic tells of the enduring pain of living with unsolved violent crime. Inspired by debut author Carissa Miller’s true-life events, it’s a haunting account of a young girl’s struggle in the aftermath of shattering loss. With an unraveling love story, puzzling mystery, unexpected twists and turns, and a gripping pace that will keep you turning pages, our heroine takes you on her journey as she learns one of life’s great lessons: facing your fears instead of running from them, is the only way to truly find freedom.

My dad and I had an unspoken pledge of silence. I don’t remember exactly when it happened. I just know that one day I realized there was a great divide between us, an endless chasm formed by words that had never been spoken, hurt that had never been expressed, and most of all, questions that would never be asked. We didn’t even know what to say to each other anymore, so we said nothing at all. Yes—silence was how we learned to operate, ever since “we” became just the two of us. So, I would never tell my dad I knew why we were really leaving Brookville and in turn, he would never tell me I was the one to blame for him losing his job. Instead we would file it away with all the things left unspoken between us over the years and leave them somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Ohio, along with all the other darkness.  
Sometime in the early afternoon, my dad pulled into a McDonald’s in Illinois after we had been driving in complete silence for somewhere close to seven hours. I quit counting eventually, knowing our trip would take much longer than it should thanks to our antiquated and unreliable means of transportation. Every possession we owned was packed to the brim in the back of a decrepit fifteen-passenger church van the congregation so kindly bestowed upon us as our tainted parting gift. I rolled my eyes as I hopped out of the van and saw the fiery orange letters emblazoned on the side of the faded black paint job—Brookville Church of God. I hated that stupid van, an ever-present reminder not only of my preacher’s-daughter upbringing, but also of the church that fired my dad for my transgressions.

About the Author:
Carissa Miller writes a lifestyle and design blog called CC and Mike, where she and
her husband blog about their experiences designing, building, and flipping houses in the Midwest. She was inspired to write her debut novel–Magnetic—because of her firsthand experience living with the trauma of an unsolved violent crime, her mother’s attempted murder. When she’s not writing, blogging, or designing, Carissa loves Oklahoma summers on the lake with her husband and three children, going to Oklahoma State sporting events and cheering on the Cowboys, and traveling cross country with her family in the RV she and her husband renovated. Carissa laughs loudly, loves with her whole heart, tells it how it is to a fault, and enjoys living life to the fullest, every moment of every day.

You can follow along with Carissa and her family on Instagram – ccandmikecreative, Facebook – CC and Mike, Pinterest – CC and Mike, Twitter, or by subscribing to their blog – http://www.ccandmike.com/.

Find the Author

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Apr 22, 2018

Building the Book Pile #251

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 
It is actually starting  warm up here in Vermont. FINALLY! We had a nice day on Saturday and today is supposed o be nice again. Yesterday we took a ride to Manchester NH and hung out - we had Chipotle for lunch because I love it and we don't have one closer to us. Then we went to the motorcycle shop and got me my own helmet so that I can ride around with the hubs this summer. Someday I will learn to ride my own but for now this is good.

As far as blogging goes, I think it was a good week and I even got a good mount of reading done :)
How has your week been so far?
Share about your week with me in the comments below!

  Giveaways  on Cover2CoverBlog!


Coming up on the Blog

Blog Blast: Excerpt and Giveaway for Magnetic by Carissa Miller (YA)
Early Reader Review: Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts by Ian De Haes (Youth)
Waiting on Wednesday
Early Reader Review: Fish-boy by Vanita Oelschlager (Youth)
Early Reader Review: All Summer Long by Hope Larsen (MG, GN)


Books Received this Week

 Unbreakable (Unblemished, #3)

Unbreakable by Sara Ella (Physical Copy) from Booklook Bloggers

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment and leave me a link to your Round-up/ STS/ Weekly...anything, post and I will happily stop by and say hello!
Happy Reading!

Apr 20, 2018

Early Reader Review: The Key to Everything by Pat Schmatz

Source: From Netgalley and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

The Key to Every Thing
The Key to Everything by Pat Schmatz
Publisher:  Candlewick Press
Publication Date:  May 8, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format:  Paperback ARC



Goodreads Synopsis: 
For eleven-year-old Tash, Cap'n Jackie isn't just the elderly next-door neighbor — she's family. When she disappears, only Tash holds the key that might bring her back.

Tash didn't want to go to camp, didn't want to spend the summer with a bunch of strangers, didn't want to be separated from the only two people she has ever been able to count on: her uncle Kevin, who saved her from foster care, and Cap'n Jackie, who lives next door. Camp turns out to be pretty fun, actually, but when Tash returns home, Cap'n Jackie is gone. And Tash needs her — the made-up stories of dolphin-dragons, the warm cookies that made everything all right after a fight, the key Cap'n Jackie always insisted had magic in it. The Captain always said all Tash had to do was hold it tight and the magic would come. Was it true? Could the key bring Cap'n Jackie back? In a heartfelt and stunningly written story, Pat Schmatz introduces readers to a tenacious, fiercely loyal girl struggling to let go of the fantasies and fears of her childhood . . . and say yes to everything that lies ahead.

The Key to Everything is a bout a young girl who is sent off to camp, when she returns her life is turned upside down when her neighbor Jackie is gone. There is so much more to this book though... and I don't want to spoil it.
It took me a few days to digest this book after reading it. It follows a girl named Tash who is still young and right now she is bitter about having to go to camp for the summer. The book is about 200 pages and it is a middle grade read so it was a quick one but it was also a very emotional one. It will bring back feelings of being a misunderstood 11 year old and hating everything or if you are 11 and reading it - you will completely understand where Tash is coming from. It is also sad. Tash is troubled to begin with but she has Jackie, their elderly neighbor, who stays with her during the day and they come up with these elaborate stories and magical worlds together. It sounds pretty great for Tash but not so good when something happens to Jackie. 

I really really don't want to go into too much detail about this plot because I think it adds to it not to know what is going to happen. Tash is learning to grow up in this book and sometimes it takes some hard-knocks to get there.

If you are looking for a contemporary read this was a good read, it is emotional though, so be prepared. I also think that all ages would do well reading this book it was beautiful.

Apr 19, 2018

Early Reader Review: Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen

 Source: From the Author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Little Bear and His Chair by Claressa Swensen 
Publication Date: 
returning to Kickstarter on May 1st

No links available at this time.

Format:  Ebook




Little Bear has a favorite chair, and he doesn’t want anyone else to sit on it. When his stubbornness gets in the way of his friendships, Little Bear has to decide what’s more important to him. A short story that teaches the value of friendship, and the importance of sharing.
Little Bear and His Chair is about a bear that has a favorite chair and doesn't want anyone messing it up. He does everything he can think of to keep others off if it. He tells them and puts up signs. When one of is friends doesn't respect this request Little Bear gets angry. His friends decide that he is not being very nice and choose to play without him.

This book has a lot of layers for a children's book. There is a sharing lesson to be learned, and about treating others and their things with respect. There is also a lesson here about being kind and friendship. 

I am an adult reading this book without a child, and I found it very cute. I read a few reviews before getting the book thus prompting me to read it to see it for myself how I felt about it. Some reviewers have noted aspects of bullying in this book - I can see where they are getting that but I do not believe that it is intentional. I think that may books with lessons of sharing and friendship have this element but because it is so in the spotlight right now we are more tuned into it. I can recall my siblings and myself (when I was much younger) having similar issues to Little Bear, sometime you have things you don't want to loan out and other kids get mad at you and one kid will almost always pass on this news. So, this book is not inaccurate and I don't feel like it was intentionally trying to show that bullying is ok.

This is a book that is trying to help parents and kids talk about sharing and friendship at its core - however, if you see fit as a parent to talk about bullying while reading it as well - that is completely up to you.

About the Author:
Claressa Swensen resides in Northern Utah with her husband, baby girl, and her two dogs. She has written four children’s books, including Teensy the Littlest Fairy and Dino Dino Doing Homework. Her books are currently available in seven Barnes & Noble locations across Utah. Her work has been featured in Readers Favorite and over 10 different reading blogs. 

Find the Author

Apr 17, 2018

Early Reader Review: Deep Water by Watt Key

Source: From Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Deep WaterDeep Water by Watt Key
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date:  April 17, 2018 - TODAY!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format:  Paperback ARC



 Goodreads Synopsis: 
A middle grade survival story about a scuba dive gone wrong and two enemies who must unite to survive.

It's the most important rule of scuba diving: If you don't feel right, don't go down.

So after her father falls ill, twelve-year-old Julie Sims must take over and lead two of his clients on a dive miles off the coast of Alabama while her father stays behind in the boat. When the clients, a reckless boy Julie's age and his equally foolhardy father, disregard Julie's instructions during the dive, she quickly realizes she's in over her head.

And once she surfaces, things only get worse: One of the clients is in serious condition, and their dive boat has vanished--along with Julie's father, the only person who knows their whereabouts. It's only a matter of time before they die of hypothermia, unless they become shark bait first. Though Julie may not like her clients, it's up to her to save them all.
I am not a huge fan of more contemporary books, I normally stick with fantasy and the like - but this description had me interested. I am so glad I agreed to read it, because it was SO good! 

The book follows Julie as she goes on a dive that is destined for mishaps and she finds herself and her companions abandoned in the ocean. She has to work to keep herself and the others alive. 

While there wasn't a lot of character development in this book with the main character, but there was so much other stuff to keep the reader interested that it didn't matter (at least for me). There was character growth in the secondary character though - which was nice - mostly because you want to punch him for the first half of the book.

While they are stranded they go through so much, and Julie's character does so well trying to navigate and keep everyone safe - it was inspirational and a good take on the 'don't panic' style of things. I found the information that the book delivered to be both educational as well as made for a great story too. 

I read this book in about 2-3 sittings and really enjoyed it the whole way through. If you are looking for a more contemporary book, like the ocean, or survival stories, you are sure to enjoy this one.